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Facebook Rolls Out End-to-End Encryption For Messenger Calls

Facebook Rolls Out End-to-End Encryption For Messenger Calls

Image: Facebook

Facebook has announced the rollout of end-to-end encrypted Messenger voice and video calls five years after making it available in one-on-one text chats.

End-to-end encryption (E2EE) is used by most popular communication and collaboration platforms, including Zoom, Microsoft Teams (on 1:1 VoIP calls), as well as Facebook’s WhatsApp.

E2EE secures text, video, and voice channels to protect the users’ conversations from prying eyes, including the platform’s owner or malicious actors who want to snoop on their discussions.

“The content of your messages and calls in an end-to-end encrypted conversation is protected from the moment it leaves your device to the moment it reaches the receiver’s device,” said Ruth Kricheli, Messenger’s Director of Product Management.

“This means that nobody else, including Facebook, can see or listen to what’s sent or said. Keep in mind, you can report an end-to-end encrypted message to us if something’s wrong.”

This change comes after Messenger users have made over 150 million video calls a day during the last year, with both audio and video calls seeing a dramatic surge.

Also Read: The Top 4 W’s of Ethical Hacking

Messenger E2EE video call
Messenger E2EE video call (Facebook)

More security-related changes

Messenger’s expiring message feature was also updated with today’s rollout to let users decide on their own when they want their messages to disappear from chat.

The Disappearing Messages setting now provides more options, allowing users to choose the time before all new messages disappear, customizable from 5 seconds to 24 hours.

Facebook is also introducing end-to-end encrypted Messenger group chats and calls in the coming weeks to provide users with improved privacy and security in their conversations. 

A limited test for opt-in end-to-end encryption for Instagram DMs (messages and calls) is also planned to kick off in select countries.

“Similar to how Messenger works today, you need to have an existing chat or be following each other to start an end-to-end encrypted DM,” Kricheli added.

“As always, you can block someone you don’t want to talk to or report something to us if it doesn’t seem right.”

Disappearing messages
Disappearing messages (Facebook)

Harbinger of good things to come?

While these changes are clearly a step in the right direction for Messenger, Facebook had to deal with multiple privacy incidents impacting its users’ security and privacy.

Also Read: What is Social Engineering and How Does it Work?

Recently, Facebook-owned WhatsApp had to backtrack on its decision to limit the app’s functionality for users who disagree with a new privacy policy requiring them to share their data with other Facebook companies.

The change of mind came after the Hamburg Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information (HmbBfDI) banned Facebook in May from processing WhatsApp user data for three months.

In April, five hundred thirty-three million users also had their account data (including phone numbers and Facebook IDs) leaked on a hacker forum.

Facebook later said the leak resulted from bulk scraping profiles using a bug in Facebook’s Contact Importer feature back in September 2019.



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